What to do if your baby is choking

Do you know what to do if your baby is choking ?

A choking baby is every parent’s biggest fear. But following these steps from imperative training will help to make sure you know exactly what to do in an emergency, should the worst happen.

What to do if your baby is choking

If your baby is under one year old:

Step One: 5 back blows

  • Hold your baby face down, across your lap, with their head lower than their bottom.
  • Support the baby’s head by holding either side of their jaw, being careful not to put pressure on their neck or throat.
  • Using the heel of your hand, firmly slap the baby’s back, in between their shoulder blades, up to 5 times.
  • Between each slap, pause and check if the blockage has been cleared;
    • If the blockage has been cleared you don’t need to continue with back blows.
  • If the airway remains blocked, move on to chest thrusts.


Step Two: Chest thrusts (it is NOT recommended to perform abdominal thrusts on a baby under one year old).

  • Put your baby on their back, either on the floor or on your knees (any flat surface).
  • Locate the breast bone, placing two fingers on the lower half of the breastbone make 5 sharp chest thrusts, compressing the chest to about a third with each thrust.
  • Between each thrust, check if the airway is cleared;
    • If the airway is cleared you don’t need to continue with thrusts.


Repeat the cycle; if the airway is not cleared after three cycles then call 999.


If your baby is over one year old:


Step One: 5 back blows (see process for babies under one year old)


Step Two: Abdominal thrusts (it is recommended that abdominal thrusts are only used for babies and children over one)


  • Kneel or stand behind your baby.
  • Wrap your arms around their upper abdomen, placing your arms under their arms.
  • Hold your closed fist just under their ribcage above their naval.
  • Hold your fist with your other hand and pull back towards you and upwards sharply.
    • Be careful not to push against their rib cage as this may cause damage.


Repeat the cycle; if the object is not dislodged after three cycles call 999.


Emergency tips:

  • Call for help if you are still alone.
  • If you can see the object, try to retrieve it with your hands, don’t put your fingers in the child’s mouth if you can’t see the object; you may push it further in.
  • When you call 999 put the phone on speaker phone so your hands are free
  • Don’t leave the child.
  • If you manage to remove the blockage you should still take your baby to see a doctor to ensure they have not suffered any injuries during the back blows and chest thrusts.


Amber Edmondson is a content writer for imperative training, the largest independent first aid training provider in the UK.




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